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STEP INTO THIS BLIND ALLEY

Blinds are elegant accessories in any home



Sharon Fernandez, the owner of Not Just Blinds

WHEN OUR forefathers first started using them, they were made of roughly cut bamboo woven together with thick rope to keep off the sun and the rain. Window blinds have now evolved into something much classier and have a style and purpose of their own.

While window blinds, earlier known as chiks, had often been used as decorative features in the verandas and porticos of bungalows and ancestral houses, apartments and modern structures have neither had the space nor the design to accommodate them. But the trend is now increasingly changing with people preferring blinds to curtains.

Mangalore, with its colonial bungalows and Portuguese-Christian structures, has an old world charm that is only doubled with the added presence of these blinds made of natural materials like bamboo, cane, wood and veneer. But what sets these blinds apart from those in the yesteryears is that is that they are perfect for small-space structures (such as apartments) too. The only store that deals with such blinds in the city is Not Just Blinds. Situated at Kadri, the store has an assortment of blinds that suit any living space. "When we opened this store one-and-a-half years ago, the business was grim. But now, it is at an all time high because more and more people are seeking the natural look for their homes," says Sharon Fernandez, the owner of the store.

This sudden interest in natural window blinds can be attributed to their flexibility. Not only can they be used as shades, but they can also accessorise doors, windows or walls. They also serve as partitions, which can be rolled up to the ceiling when not required.

"The best thing about blinds is that they suit any look. Be it the earthy, natural look or the elegant, classy look, blinds are suitable just about everywhere," says Sharon. Moreover, they blend in with any type of furniture too.

To ensure that personal touch, customised blinds are made to suit the furniture, the colour of the walls and other such details of a customer's home or workplace. S/he can choose the material that the blinds are to be made from and also the colour of the weaves, sticks, slates and borders. "We often ask our customers to bring a sample of the shade that they want their blinds to be in," says Sharon. She does add that typically, blinds in natural colours like rubber wood, teak and rosewood ensures a subtle and ageless look.



A fabric blind serves as a cover for the mirror

Ethnic and earthy as they are, these blinds are handmade by craftsmen from Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, depending on the raw material source. The locking mechanism (the way one rolls or winds the blinds) comes in two different styles. One is the rolling type and the other, the folding type. Known as `Roman folds' the blinds can be folded up in neat steps on the window, door or the wall. Those who prefer to save space can opt for the latter, says Sharon.

While curtains are preferred for their low cost, blinds have an advantage as regards maintenance. Blinds can be kept dust-free by simply lowering them or raising them once or twice a week. Dusting them with a dry brush or cloth also works, says Sharon. Also, blinds are treated i.e. varnished and polished to keep away fungus and other hassles that come with humidity and monsoon.

All good things come with a price tag. And this tag is not too easy on the pockets. Stuff like veneer, cane and the imported bamboo cost anything between Rs. 90 to Rs. 120 per sq. ft. whereas bamboo blinds made simple for verandas and porticos cost only around Rs. 35 per sq ft. Fitting them in your homes is charged additionally.

"It's all about giving your home a character, something individualistic and personal," says Sharon. Of course, there is nothing like coming back home to a natural and beautiful ambience after a hard day's work. Our forefathers knew it!

ANJU NARAYANAN

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